One of my daughter E’s favorite soups is a “Chick’n” Noodle Soup that starts with Imagine’s No-Chicken broth and includes, besides pasta, either Soy Curls or another packaged chicken substitute such as Lightlife Smart Strips. It’s one of those dishes that feel comforting on a chilly night or whenever our spirits need a lift, so my family asks for it a lot.
As someone who is trying to cut down on sodium and processed foods, I know in my head that this family favorite isn’t the most nutritious soup in the world, but I’m not immune to its charms. The stuff is addictive! Nevertheless, when I found myself craving it recently, I decided it was time to give it a nutrition-boosting makeover.
My new version uses no broth (the vegetables and seasonings create their own), substitutes chickpeas for “Chick’n,” and replaces the noodles with strips of cabbage. Though E still demands actual pasta in her soup, I found this a satisfying stand-in and almost as comforting as the original at a fraction of the calories.
Best of all, if you’re following Weight Watchers, one bowl is zero points under the Freestyle program (you’d have to eat 2 of them before it counts as 1 point.) And if you follow Eat to Live, this is perfect, except possibly for the salt and miso. But if you’d like to make it heartier, fell free to add pasta, as my daughter does, or potatoes. And extra veggies, such as green beans, can only make it more delicious.
Cabbage "Noodle" Soup
- 1 small onion chopped
- 2 carrots diced or sliced
- 2 ribs celery leaves included, diced
- 8 cups water
- 1 teaspoon dried thyme leaves
- 1/8 teaspoon rubbed sage
- 2 bay leaves
- 1/2 teaspoon poultry seasoning
- 2 cloves garlic minced or pressed
- 1/4 head cabbage thinly sliced
- 1 15-ounce can chickpeas --or 1 1/2 cup cooked chickpeas, drained
- generous grating of black pepper
- 3 tablespoons nutritional yeast
- 1/4 cup parsley chopped
- 2 teaspoons mellow white miso
- salt to taste
- Preheat a large, non-stick pot. Add the onions, carrots, and celery and cook until onions soften. Add the water and all remaining ingredients except nutritional yeast, parsley, and miso. Reduce heat to medium-low, cover, and cook until vegetables are tender and broth is flavorful (at least 30 minutes).
- Stir in the nutritional yeast and parsley. Place the miso in a small bowl and add some of the hot broth a little at a time, stirring, until the miso is dissolved in the broth. Add the miso broth back to the pot. Add salt to taste and serve.
Nutritional info is approximate.